In Episode 8 of the @Topvelocity #Pitchingtips show we discuss how to gain lean muscle mass. Gaining muscle mass can be huge for increasing pitching velocity. There are studies that show that on average the harder throwing pitchers tend to be bigger. That doesn’t mean small guys can’t throw hard, it is just saying on average harder throwers tend to be bigger. This makes sense when we look at the formula mass x acceleration = power. If you are a guy looking to add some velocity to your fastball then adding weight while still being able to move fast is definitely a step in the right direction. In this article, we will take a look at why building mass is important for pitching velocity and how to build mass for pitching velocity.
Gaining Muscle Mass for the Pitcher
Building mass is important because it does support pitching velocity if you are maintaining or improving your speed. So, remember the equation mass x acceleration or speed = power. If your a guy who can increase mass or bodyweight and maintain or gain more speed, than it will absolutely be beneficial to ball velocity. For example, let’s plug in a 150 lb guy with 10 speed ( just randomly using 10 as a measure of his speed) into the equation, 150 mass x 10 speed = 1500 power. Now let’s take the same guy and add 20 lbs to his mass while maintaining his speed, 170 mass x 10 speed = 1700 power. So, we can see by adding mass and maintaining speed we can increase our power output and therefore our pitching velocity. However, if you are a guy who gains mass and loses speed then the opposite would be true. For example, same 150 lb man with 10 speed, but this time he gains 20lbs and his speed drops to 5 (I chose 5 for simplicity of the equation). Usually this type of weight gain is fat not muscle mass. So, the equation would be 170 mass x 5 speed = 850 power. Obviously, this is a much lower power output and would most likely hurt our pitching velocity on the mound.
Gaining good muscle mass comes from two things, lifting heavy and eating lots of good food. You need to be lifting heavy in order to get your body to change. Studies show that lifting in the 75- 85% of your 1 rep max is when your body starts releasing human growth hormone. Also, you need to be eating right or all that heavy lifting is wasted. There can be whole books written on this subject, but to break it down you need to eat protein daily (1-2 grams x your body weight) and then you need to eat a bunch of vegetables and carbohydrates. For example, one meal might be 10 oz of chicken (protein), 2 sweet potatoes(carbs) and 3 cups of vegetables. You also need to eat good healthy fats like nuts, avocados, coconut milk etc. From there, eat as many times a day as you can. I like to eat 5-7 times a day when I’m trying to build muscle. Basically, weigh yourself on a scale and go back a week later and if you aren't at least 1 lb heavier than before you need to be eating more food. Period.
In conclusion, gaining mass is beneficial when you can maintain or increase speed with it. If you gain weight and lose speed your setting yourself up for decreased power output. However, if you gain muscle mass and increase or maintain speed watch your pitching velocity get a huge boost! To gain lean muscle mass you need to be lifting heavy and eating right. Lift in the 80% range of your 1 rep max to release growth hormone and try to eat 5-7 meals a day consisting of protein (1-2 grams x bodyweight), good carbohydrates (potatoes, whole wheat pasta, quinoa etc.), vegetables and good healthy fats ( nuts, avocado, coconut milk etc.). The easiest way to make sure your eating enough and gaining weight is to buy a scale and weigh yourself each week. If you are not gaining at least 1 lb each week then EAT MORE FOOD!